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Thursday, May 28, 2020
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Derailed Deliveries

The coronavirus outbreak has darkened factories in China and disrupted global automobile production, which means railroads have less to deliver. Railroads are reporting a steep decline in the number of containers of imported goods they are carrying as imports fall. The Association of American Railroads said the number of those shipping containers that U.S. railroads hauled so far this year fell 8.1% compared with last year, and total rail traffic was down 7.2%. “It wouldn’t be surprising to see rail volumes of other categories soften in the weeks ahead as steps taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 continue to impact producers, both here and abroad,” said John Gray with the railroad trade group. In addition to fewer containers of imported goods, there will be a drop in automotive shipments in the weeks ahead because production plants have shut down, Edward Jones analyst Jeff Windau said. It remains unclear how long automakers and other businesses will stay closed because of the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s still a question of how long this lasts and how deep is the slowdown,”

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